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5th Screen Digital Services Specializes in the Impossible

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November 20, 2012

5th Screen Digital Services Specializes in the Impossible

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Managing Editor

People of a certain age will remember the aborted “Smell-O-Vision,” a system that released odors during feature films so that audiences could smell what was happening in the movie. It was, unfortunately, a bit of a disaster. With that in mind, what kind of company would take the seemingly impossible task of making a custom “Guess That Spice” scent device for a national company that sells cooking spices? The only company that would take on such a challenge would be one that specialized in the impossible. That company is 5th Screen Digital Services, and you can bet your basil that they made the “Guess That Spice” device an award-winning reality.

We’ll come back to that olfactory wizardry in a bit. But first, a bit about the company that prides itself in dealing with the impossible. 5th Screen Digital Services is the brainchild of John Curran (News - Alert), the COO and expert at technical challenges that face retailers on the technical side of the equation, and Keith Kelsen, the CEO, has over 30 years of experience in the media field providing insight into the transmedia experience.

According to Curran, it is important for digital media to remain cost effective, timely and relevant. Studies were showing that consumers were ignoring digital signage in retail environments, usually because companies were unsure as to how to use the technology properly, often repurposing television ads to play on digital screens in stores. This was a mistake, since there is a completely different context involved when consumers are in a store as opposed to when they are on their couches watching television.

The task, then, according to Curran, was to use analytics to determine what the problem was to use anonymous video analytics to measure impressions exposures and demographics, collecting data and figuring out how to better leverage the digital signage technology. Eventually, companies realized that they were better off using digital signage to help reduce wait time or make time fly while customers are in the store, reinforcing marketing messages at the same time.

Of course, this means that placement of the technology was crucial. Rather than worrying about running network cables or connecting to Wi-Fi, the company decided to use embedded M2M solutions in their digital signage deployments. This means that the systems can be managed and monitored remotely, allowing for easy deployment anywhere in the store, decreasing hassle for store managers and lowering operating costs. 5th Screen opted to go with Sprint (News - Alert) because that company truly understands the marketplace and brings valuable expertise.

This brings us back to the “Guess That Spice” machine. 5th Screen took up the challenge to create an interactive digital display for the McCormick World of Flavor store in Baltimore, creating a display that challenges customers to take a whiff and see if they can figure out which spice they are smelling. Mere words cannot express how interesting the final product is, so check out the video here (without Smell-O-Vision, unfortunately) to get the full effect.

For a company that specializes in the impossible, 5th Screen has come out smelling like roses.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

Technology Marketing Corporation

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